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Sarkozy to discuss regional problems, economic ties during Caucasus visit

October 06, 2011, 7:01 UTC+3

Sarkozy will open in Yerevan a house named after Aznavour who is of Armenian descent

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PARIS, October 6 (Itar-Tass) —— French President Nicolas Sarkozy will set off on a visit to Yerevan on Thursday, October 6, for talks with Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan and Catholicos Karekin II.

The French delegation includes ministers responsible for industry, energy, digital economy, transport, and foreign trade. Singer and actor Charles Aznavour will also be accompanying the president.

Sarkozy will open in Yerevan a house named after Aznavour who is of Armenian descent.

The trip schedule also includes a visit to the Armenian genocide memorial and a flower laying ceremony at the Eternal Flame.

On Friday, Sarkozy will be in Baku for talks with Azerbaijani President Ilkham Aliyev. France, along with Russia and the United States, is a co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group for the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and the peace process in this enclave will most likely occupy a central place on the agenda of the talks in Azerbaijan.

Paris attaches great significance to the development of trade ties with the Transcaucasia. Azerbaijan is one of the top four trade partners of France in the former Soviet Union. French import from Azerbaijan, dominated by energy resources, had reached 1.2 billion euros by the end of the past decade.

In Baku, Sarkozy will attend a ground-breaking ceremony for a French lyceum. Aliyev and he will make speeches.

The French leader will end his trip to the South Caucasus in Tbilisi with talks with the Georgian leadership on Friday, October 7.

The South Caucasus is a strategic region for the European Union, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said.

“South Caucasus is a strategic region for the European Union and associative and partner ties with the European Union will facilitate prosperity, strengthening of democracy and dialogue in all three Caucasus countries,” Sarkozy said in an interview with the Mediamax news agency ahead of his visit to.

“France wants the European Union to establish closer relations with the countries of the region, beginning with Armenia,” he stressed.

“The European Union has recently reinforced its role in the South Caucasus and I am very glad about it. At first, the EU did it through the European Neighborhood Policy, and then within the Eastern Partnership which France backed from the very beginning,” the president said.

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